Have to write an argumentative essay? Are you nervous about it? If your answer to both questions is “YES”, then you came to the right place. Sure, writing an essay is always a source of concern for many students, but it doesn’t have to be like that. With a practical guide, you can master the art of writing an argumentative essay before you know it. Here’s how.
The main idea behind argumentative essay is to defend a debatable position on a specific issue with the goal to persuade readers to accept your argument. As a writer, your goal is to choose a side and declare whether you agree or disagree with something. The argument has to be supported by valid and reliable evidence.
The point of this paper is to demonstrate knowledge of the subject and the ability to start, develop, and finalize an argument without losing reader’s attention. The argumentative essay provides a deeper insight into a certain topic, scratches below the surface to highlight some important ideas.
Benefits of writing an argumentative essay
No, your professor doesn’t assign argumentative essay just because he (or she) feels like it. Once you graduate you will realize that every single assignment in school and college had its own purpose. The idea is to help students develop certain skills through work on the task at hand. Skills that you develop with argumentative essays include:
- Anticipating objections – this paper isn’t just about proving you’re right, it also requires addressing opposing views (see below). The writing process entails outlining alternative perspectives and answering questions that reader may have. This allows you to master the art of anticipating objections to understand both sides of the issue. You’ll rely on this skill in your personal and professional life
- Critical thinking – as you analyze the evidence, arguments, and claims you gradually develop and strengthen critical thinking skills. These skills allow you to understand potential weaknesses in your own arguments and assess any subject or idea in an unbiased manner
- Writing skills – it’s simple; practice makes perfection. The more you write, the better your essay writing skills will be. This is one of the most important reasons why professors assign essays
- Logic and rhetoric – argumentative essay helps you master the basic rules of logic such as learning to avoid emotional appeals, writing clear statements rather than generalizations. You’ll also enhance rhetoric skills by emphasizing the importance of the subject and potential outcomes
- Research skills – the secret behind high-quality essays is in thorough research. You’ll need great research skills throughout your academic life, even when you get a job later on
Areas of interest
The beauty of the argumentative essay is that you can write about anything you want including:
- Law and other legal topics
- Advertising and media
Argumentative essay outline
The process of writing an argumentative essay can be very simple when you follow a well-structured outline. Below, you can see how your paper should look like:
- Introduction – first contact between a reader and your essay. This is your chance to make a great first impression, keep reader eager to see how you developed the argument. An introductory paragraph consists of:
- Hook – first sentence or two; catches reader’s attention. It can be a quote, question, anecdote, statistics, etc.
- Background – useful background information about the subject
- Thesis statement – announces the argument you’re going to make or side of the issue that you’ll defend
- Developing the argument – are you pro or against some idea, event, policy etc? Explain why you’re right, create an engaging argument that stirs debate in a reader’s mind too. The number of paragraphs isn’t specified, it depends on claims you make:
- Claim 1 – evidence – each paragraph should start with a claim that contributes to your argument and evidence to support it
- Claim 2 – evidence
- Claim 3 – evidence
- Debunking opposing views – you want a reader to know you’re right and the best way to do so is to debunk some opposing claims in the process. After developing your argument, dedicate a body paragraph or two to opponents’ viewpoints:
- Opposing view 1– refutation – mentions common claims that contradict yours and provides evidence to show why they’re wrong
- Opposing view 2 – refutation
- Conclusion – restates the main premise or argument and summarizes key claims. Describes what could happen if your premise isn’t followed and proposes potential solutions for a certain problem (if applicable)
Now that you know more about the outline to follow when writing the argumentative essay, it’s necessary to learn more about different tips and tricks that make the process easier. Follow these useful strategies while working on your paper:
- Research the subject – this is a must; even if you think you already know everything about the subject, still do a thorough research to get more information and take notes
- Choose claims wisely – the number of claims about your argument isn’t as important as their quality. If you can’t find evidence to support some claim, then don’t include it. Remember, your goal is to convince reader your opinion is the right one and you need evidence-backed claims to do that
- Quality of evidence matters too – Wikipedia, blogs, unreliable websites aren’t really helpful. Argumentative essay is an academic paper that requires the use of reputable sources, journals, publications, books
- Write everything that comes to your mind – take a blank piece of paper (or open MS Word) and write everything that comes to your mind regarding the topic. Don’t think about typos, grammar, claims and such. When you’re done, read everything from top to bottom, eliminate things you can’t use. Then, use the rest to construct your essay
- Give credit where credit is due – to support the claims you need evidence, but don’t forget to include references. When using someone else’s thoughts or ideas to complement your own, you should always give credit where credit is due
- Be concise – don’t use random words and expressions just to reach word count limit. Always be concise and make sure that every word contributes to the meaning of sentence, paragraph, and thereby the entire essay
- Think outside the box – essays should spark a debate and they are often controversial. Feel free to explore your creativity, think outside the box, and approach the subject in a nonconventional manner
Argumentative Essay Topics
In most cases, professor or teacher is the one who assigns a specific topic that students have to discuss. That said, students get to choose their own topics from time to time.
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Here are some topics suggestions you should consider:
- Should teenagers be required to obtain parents’ permission to use contraceptives?
- Are athletes overpaid?
- Is the use of animals for research purposes justified?
- Scientists cloned monkeys; are humans next? Is human cloning ethical?
- Should social media platforms regulate comments more thoroughly?
- Is gun control an effective method of reducing crime rates?
- Homeschooling prevents children to adopt various social skills
- Violence in the media makes children violent
- Does existence of Electoral College undermine freedom of American people to choose the leader they want?
- Are beauty pageants exploitive?
- Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
- Should college tuitions be more affordable?
- Should surgeries and medications for all diseases be free for everyone?
- Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores and bad grades?
Legal argumentative essay topics
- At what age should girls have access to birth control without the consent of their parents?
- Do the benefits of medical marijuana justify its legality?
- Does outlawing controlled substances only create a larger black market?
- Does the US law system offer enough protection for victims of domestic abuse?
- Does Trump’s refusal to take refugees deny basic human rights to people in need?
- In what situations, if any, does a woman have a right to an abortion?
- Is the drinking age appropriate (should it be lower, higher, or stay the same)?
- Is the process of electoral vote fair?
- Online abuse – should court treat it as any other kind of abuse?
- Should cigarettes and other tobacco products be outlawed?
- Should corporations be granted personhood?
- Should the death penalty be abolished?
- Should nuclear weapons be outlawed worldwide?
- Should prostitution be legal?
- Should the United States put more restrictions on gun ownership and use?
Ethical argumentative essay topics
Here are some topic ideas:
- Are atheists less moral than theists?
- Are members of oppressed minority groups kept back by policies which encourage them to see cultures foreign to themselves as innately superior?
- Are nude photographs appropriate in museums that are open to the public?
- Are parents overexposing their children online?
- Do patients have a right to die via physician-assisted suicide?
- Do pre-employment drug tests infringe on personal privacy rights?
- Does freedom of speech give people the right to use hate speech?
- Is animal testing necessary?
- Is death penalty right or wrong?
- Is human reproductive cloning morally acceptable?
- Should children’s beauty pageants be banned?
- Should consumers buy items from countries that endorse child labor?
- Should hunting with the sole purpose to entertain be banned?
- Should schools and businesses give more incentives for people to do volunteer work?
Social argumentative essay topics
Social topics can refer to just about anything, here are some examples:
- Are tattoos acceptable at the workplace?
- At what age should citizens be allowed to vote in the United States?
- Can heterosexual men and women truly be friends with no hopes or expectations of anything more?
- Can online dating replace meeting a person in real life?
- Do prisoners deserve the right to vote?
- Excessive alcohol consumption in minors – does it stem from too much freedom and lack of parental control?
- In what case(s) could it be considered fair for a company to not hire a candidate who smokes cigarettes?
- Is education in the US failing teenagers across the nation? Too much pressure, expensive college enrollment, bullying – what can be done?
- Is there too much pressure on teenagers to go to college?
- Most prisoners released on parole return to prison within 12 months – is it the system’s failure?
- Should more rights be given to immigrants?
- Should the United States make English the official national language?
- Should there be a legal curfew for minors?
- Should women wear less revealing clothing in order to curb men’s catcalling?
- Why online dating websites should be responsible for rapes and murders committed by members who are registered sex offenders
Advertising and media argumentative essay topics
Advertising and media evolved dramatically during last few decades thus posing as an endless source of essay topics. Below, you can see some title ideas:
- Are public service announcements effective?
- Do journalists have a duty to eliminate as much bias as possible?
- Do teenagers drink and smoke because advertisements make them think it is “cool” to do so?
- Do TV shows and movies have the responsibility of being more diverse?
- How “fake news” trend changes a political and social life?
- How do reality shows impact society?
- In what situations should advertisements for alcohol and tobacco products be allowed?
- Is it acceptable for companies to advertise in schools?
- Is print advertising obsolete?
- Sex and violence on TV – how do they change us?
- Should news shows talk about celebrities?
- Should sex be allowed to be portrayed on prime-time television?
- Should warnings and side effects be made more clear in advertisements?
- Spikes in violence on TV co-occur with violence on the streets – what can be done?
- Where should networks draw the line for violence on television?
Family argumentative essay topics
Here are some ideas:
- At what age should parents talk to their children about sex?
- Do children deserve/need an allowance?
- Is a child’s room really theirs, or is it their parents’?
- Is it acceptable for women to breastfeed in public?
- Is it okay for parents to monitor teens’ internet use?
- Should all people who want to have kids undergo a psychological evaluation prior conceiving?
- Should parenting classes be compulsory?
- Should parents be able to spank their children?
- Should parents buy presents for kids to motivate them to study and do their homework?
- Should parents pay children for good grades?
- Should parents push their children to do things they don’t want?
- Should parents push their kids into extracurricular activities such as music or sports?
- Should single people be able to adopt children as easily as couples?
- Staying married for the sake of children only harms them, why?
- Why helicopter parenting never works?
- Why should all kids have certain chores on a daily basis?
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Essay topic generator
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In order to assess your strengths and weaknesses adequately, it’s always practical to read someone else’s paper. Why? As you read and observe how a writer developed the argument, you recognize both good and bad sides of their essay. Later, you transmit this knowledge to your own writing process. Edusson’s Magic Help has a number of essay examples that you can use to get motivated, learn, and practice.
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